Sports Leagues, ESPN Fight Google White Space Plan

An all-star lineup of sports leagues has weighed in on proposals for use of DTV white spaces, and the jocks don’t like the plans pushed by Google and others.

The NFL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, NBA, NHL, NCAA, PGA Tour and ESPN joined to challenge the “beacon” plan supported by Google, and asked the FCC to remain focused on protecting wireless microphones from interference from new devices operating in white spaces.

In their joint filing with the FCC, the leagues and ESPN—the “Sports Technology Alliance"—called for the FCC to require technology companies that want to sell wireless white space devices to prove that their devices won’t interfere with wireless microphones, which already operate in white spaces.

“We are deeply troubled by the crippling disruption and harm that portable devices will cause to live sports events,” said Ken Kerschbaumer, executive director of the Sports Video Group, on behalf of the Sports Technology Alliance. “These devices could knock out wireless communications systems like headsets used by coaches and officials, microphones used by referees to announce penalties and calls, and microphones used by journalists to conduct interviews with athletes and coaches.”

Google’s plan calls for “beacons” that would stop white space device transmissions, and have devices rely on spectrum sensing technology for interference protection.

More than 300 wireless microphones are routinely used at large events like the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500, and the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament, the alliance said.